Love is in the air–or it better be– for the levels of consumerism flourish during the world-wide celebration of love and affection for significant others known as Saint Valentine’s Day (more commonly known as Valentine’s Day in the United States and Valentime’s Day in the Bronx) this Sunday, February 14.  Largely popularized with expressing one’s love through greeting cards, the holiday easily holds the title of the second most popular day to send a card (Christmas is first) making it the first of the calendar year’s “Hallmark Holidays”.  However, before one could run to the strip mall for one of the instant greetings and salutations manufactured by an English major drop-out or bored, Baptist housewife working part-time in the greeting card business, there was an honest attempt at creating a declaration of something meaningful for one’s true love; and I feel that this really meant something worthy of scrapbooking “back in the day”.   Flashing forward the text message generation, the greeting card, although as important as the icing on the cake, has become an introduction to THE gift from one’s love.

So what else is appropriate in addition to the requisite card for the sweetie?  Well, candies, chocolates, flowers, jewelry, dinner reservations (with an emphasis on reservation as Houlihan’s will not suffice) or even a trip would be enough to prove one’s love at a pecuniary level through the rest of the week.  Although, one should keep in mind if dating the more finicky, Valentine’s Day falls on the first day of the week this year and you could be throwing caution to the wind if a “bumper” gift is not presented at the mid-week (or one of those fancy weekend dinner rezzies is always a great way to end the week). Alas, this article is really not about any of those things, my lords and lassies.  It’s about wine; good wine that would easily serve as a catalyst of your love and a precursor spark towards the presumed post-Valentine’s Day relations (to be expected after blowing your week’s allowance on snookie-poo).  So, here are my suggestions of wines to be shared by loved ones on this special day:

2008 Gini Soave Classico 750ml $19 Ripe melon, apricots, and peach burst forth in this wine that hails from Verona, the setting of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”.  Clean and mineral driven with impeccable balance and acidity, it delivers a light and refreshing alternative to the more one-dimensional Pinot Grigios that have dominated the palates of Italian wine drinking Americans.

MV Moët & Chandon Imperial Champagne 750ml $40 Rich-bodied and smooth with crisp acidity focusing on green apple, lemon and lime flavors with subtle notes of ginger and honey.  Making its debut in the United States late last year, the world’s most popular champagne recently replaced the legendary White Star with this label.  Regardless of the name change, the quality is the same and a right as rain way of making any sugarbumpkins swoon.

2006 Cesari Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 750ml $46 Ripe fruit and fruit preserves with a focus on cherry dominate the palate.  Orange peel, baking spices and green tea move into focus followed by forest floor and mushrooms on the finish.  This wine follows suit with the Soave coming from the same town as the literary love bird big wigs “Romeo and Juliet”.

2000 Chateau Calon-Segur 750ml $120 Daffodils, black cherry, cassis, blackberry and a striking minerality are present in this wine from the blockbuster 2000 vintage.  After 10 years in the bottle, this wine has really come in to its own and has shed some of the tannic character that was evident a few years ago.  It should also be known that it is the perfect Valentine’s Day wine as a result of a giant red heart that appears on its label.  A perfect companion to the Beef Wellington that you created for your wittle wubbie bubbie.

Johnnie Walker Blue Label 750ml $240 Subtle aromas of smoke, tobacco, dried fruit and peat.  A pleasant warming sensation on the palate unbeknownst to lesser quality blended whiskies.  It has lingering finish that can easily captivate the senses for a good minute or so.  For some, Valentine’s Day means being alone, unloved and unwilling to love.  These folks deserve something with a little more weight in the mouth, but not with the typical burn of the hard spirits (in the event that a last minute invite comes from the neighbor gal, with all the cats, for dinner and you need to save your palate for the wine that will be consumed).

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Darin Link is a Court of Master Sommelier’s Certified Sommelier.  He has worked at the Mobile Four-Star restaurant, Tony’s.   He also served as the sommelier in the over-the-top restaurant, Busch’s Grove, where he received Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence in just two years.  He’s currently employed as the wine buyer for Straub’s Market in Saint Louis.

(read Darin’s last posts: Lovely Bubbly, A Reason To Celebrate. + Winter Wines to Wet your Whistle.)

(image: Miss Lonelyhearts; Alfred Hitchcock’s Read Window)

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